Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sam Harris: Islam Is Different. (Duh.)

I hate it when Sam Harris is right. But this time he is, and I don't mind (too much) giving the Devil his due:
The New York Times has declared that the proposed mosque will be nothing less than “a monument to tolerance.” It goes without saying that tolerance is a value to which we should all be deeply committed. Nor can we ignore the fact that many who oppose the construction of this mosque embody all that is terrifyingly askew in conservative America—“birthers,” those sincerely awaiting the Rapture, opportunistic Republican politicians, and utter lunatics who yearn to see Sarah Palin become the next president of the United States (note that Palin herself probably falls into several of these categories). These people are wrong about almost everything under the sun. The problem, however, is that they are not quite wrong about Islam ....

There is no such thing as Islamophobia. Bigotry and racism exist, of course—and they are evils that all well-intentioned people must oppose. And prejudice against Muslims or Arabs, purely because of the accident of their birth, is despicable. But like all religions, Islam is a system of ideas and practices. And it is not a form of bigotry or racism to observe that the specific tenets of the faith pose a special threat to civil society. Nor is it a sign of intolerance to notice when people are simply not being honest about what they and their co-religionists believe.

The claim that the events of September 11, 2001, had “nothing to do with Islam” is an abject and destabilizing lie. This murder of 3,000 innocents was viewed as a victory for the One True Faith by millions of Muslims throughout the world (even, idiotically, by those who think it was perpetrated by the Mossad). And the erection of a mosque upon the ashes of this atrocity will also be viewed by many millions of Muslims as a victory—and as a sign that the liberal values of the West are synonymous with decadence and cowardice. This may not be reason enough for the supporters of this mosque to reconsider their project. And perhaps they shouldn’t. Perhaps there is some form of Islam that could issue from this site that would be better, all things considered, than simply not building another mosque in the first place. But this leads me to a somewhat paradoxical conclusion: American Muslims should be absolutely free to build a mosque two blocks from ground zero; but the ones who should do it probably wouldn’t want to.
[What Obama Got Wrong About the Mosque by Sam Harris]

Two other interesting, related, items over at The Daily Beast:

Ground Zero Mosque Hurts Islam by Douglas Murray
Murray is the Director of the UK based Center for Social Cohesion. He was born and raised an Anglican, but his studies of Islam led him to become an atheist.

A Muslim Questions the Mosque by Asra Q. Nomani
Nomani is an Indian born American Muslim journalist and researcher. She is the author of Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam.

On the broader issue of the "differentness" of Islam, I would humbly recommend that the interested reader check out the following posts from this blog:
The Price of Monotheism in a nutshell
Are there two kinds of religion?
What is "Counterreligion"?
The Essence of Religion

3 comments:

mamiel said...

"American Muslims should be absolutely free to build a mosque two blocks from ground zero; but the ones who should do it probably wouldn’t want to." Bingo.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

Hey, I already said I hate it when he's right. Now you have to go and rub it in!!
;-)

Mary said...

More from Gates of Vienna:

It was no accident of public relations that “Córdoba Initiative” was chosen as the title of the Ground Zero mosque project. The city of Córdoba was the capital of al-Andalus, the Umayyad Caliphate in Iberia, and the famous Córdoba Mosque was built atop the rubble of a destroyed church.

For the last several decades Islam has been expanding into the West using cunning and deceit facilitated by the treason of our governing elites, who have sold their own countries to the Islamic invaders. This peaceful conquest is a historical anomaly, however — from its inception until its long decline began in 1683, Islam expanded solely through violence.

Wherever Islam expanded violently, it built mosques at the sites of its victories. The minarets rose over the rubble of destroyed churches, synagogues, and temples to stand as symbols of Islam’s conquest of the kuffar. The Córdoba Mosque was an architectural announcement of the Moorish triumph over Christian Iberia.

The Córdoba Initiative thus provides an obvious historical analogy to the Islamic victory on September 11th, 2001, at Ground Zero. The significance of the name and place will not be lost on any educated Muslim who hears about the project.